Carlos Drummond de Andrade: the voice of Brazil
The state of Minas Gerais has produced many of Brazil’s greatest literary figures, but one man stands head, shoulders and navel above them all. Carlos Drummond de Andrade is so beloved by Brazilians that his Cancao Amiga (Friendly Song) was actually printed on 50 cruzado banknotes. Drummond is much more than the father of Brazilian modernism; he is the father of a nation. But, like most great men, he wasn’t always famous. He was born in Itabira, a not-so-small mining town, before moving to Belo Horizonte, the provincial capital, to study pharmacy. Although he graduated easily, he never worked as a pharmacist and instead moved to Rio to become a civil servant in the ministry of education…And a poet.
Drummond at home
He spent much of his adult life in Rio, but as the Brazlian journalist Ángel Gurría-Quintana put it “Rio became his home and his muse, but Minas Gerais was never far from his thoughts.” Or in the words of the man himself: “Itabira is just a photograph on the wall. But …